What would you say if you were taken back in time for three days, in a time machine, to one of the very meaningful periods in your life? If they asked me I would say it’s kind of unreal, maybe I would add that this is not even something I would have liked to go through, after all, it has being almost thirty years.
My time travel happened about two weeks ago, while I was visiting Israel. For three days I was with my Army friends in Kibbutz Eilot, the most southern kibbutz in the world. I was an urban girl who joined a youth movement including kids all over Israel. Our Army service was a special program that combined Kibbutz life and protecting Israel. I joined this program and it influenced me so much and really shaped me as a person.
I was sixteen when we met and twenty one when we went our separate ways. Five years of maturing and a mandatory Army service, so crucial for the existence of the tiny country of Israel. It was the first time we were away from home, serving our country. In that time I learned about myself so much: who I was as a person, as a woman, as a part of a bigger community, society. I learned how to be independent, to choose well. Many moments I experienced came back again and again in my dreams throughout the years. I cherished those years and people I shared my life with, in my heart and mind forever.
Thirty years passed since our paths separated. These years passed so quickly, too fast. We all did different things. There were times I kept in touch with some of them, and times I had no connection at all. Keep in mind – the world shrunk and became so small only in the last few years. We all met in Tel Aviv for one magical night of a reunion three years ago. It was then I learned that what I thought about life when I was twenty, turned out to be very different. The paths people took were different from what I envisioned when I was twenty. I never imagined I will be living and raising my four sons on the other side of the world. Didn’t know I will only dream in Hebrew, speaking English in real life.
I waited, like a little kid who is waiting a whole year for their birthday party. I was so excited and counted the days. These three days passed way too fast just like a birthday party. In the very first night we just hugged, laughed and remembered. The following day we took a day trip to Timna Mine. It is an ancient copper mine that has existed for the last 3000 years. We enjoyed the beautiful desert, with its limitless colors and character. We climbed, crawled, laughed, and of course remembered. At night we danced. I don’t even remember when I danced so much the last time. At nights I shared a room with one of my girlfriends. We talked and talked every night, soul talking, that reminded me why I loved her. We fell asleep exhausted. Those hours reminded of the many years has passed, because we had so much to talk about – thirty years, summarized in just hours.
In the last morning we went on a guided tour to the fields of the Kibbutz. The tour was full with interesting information, colors and tastes. Again, lots of hugs and smiles, and just a bit of sadness, because we all knew that our paths will separate in just a few hours.
During those three days I was engulfed with love. A feeling of peace took over, the kind that makes you just be, no words needed. I had the time to think about decisions in life. Lots of what ifs…came to my mind: What if I stayed at the Kibbutz, what if I stayed in Israel and never left, what if I insisted on things I wanted back then. I believe we all had the same thoughts; it was just hanging in the air. But at the end of the day, I did it my way in my own way. I regret nothing: I am happy and appreciative of what I have and what I have become.
The people we were are long gone. But the ties that are in our hearts are there forever. These people helped shaped the person I am today, and I am so grateful to each and every one of them for their gift. On that weekend I was just Revital. Not someone’s nom, or wife, or daughter or anything else. I was simply myself, a twenty year old with thirty years of experience.